For the past few days, I’ve provided tips and advice to help others prepare for National Novel Writing Month. So you may be asking yourself, which one should I do first? Do I have to do all three in order to be prepared to write my novel? Do I really have to go through all these steps in order to prepare?
The answer to those questions can be simple – no!
Go ahead and forget all the advice I just gave you. They aren’t required steps by any means at all. If you’re the kind of writer who wants to just jump in and write, then by all means, jump in and write! Those prior days were only suggestions, after all.
Really, the only thing you need is a desire to write and the motivation to push yourself to that 50,000 word goal. Although many authors do like to take those other steps, there are others who simply start writing. Whatever it takes to hit that goal, just do it.
I’ve often compared this process to that of a sculptor. An artist may start with a plain, possibly misshapen block of marble. Using his (or her) tools, he carves and chips away at the stone until something emerges that looks like something other than raw material. It could be a simple lawn ornament, or it could be a museum-worthy masterpiece. But he wouldn’t have that finished product unless he had that raw block of marble when he began.
That’s what your first draft is – that block of marble. It’s not going to look like a finished work. It will be ugly and misshapen. But that’s where the editing process comes in – you chip away at the extraneous bits, shape the scenes and chapters into what you desire. Keep working at it until it fits that perfect vision in your mind. Then you can sit back and marvel at what you’ve created.
But you wouldn’t have reached that point unless you had that raw material. That’s where National Novel Writing Month comes in. Over the course of the month, you will create your raw material – your lumpy block of marble. At the end of the month, you’ll have what you need.
For myself, I’ve done each of the suggestions I’ve laid out. That includes this last one – I jumped in with a few scenes in my head and a desire to get it into the computer. So I can’t tell you which is the “right” way to tackle National Novel Writing Month. Nor will I insist that there even is a “right” way. Everyone has a different style to writing, and a different motive. What works for me may not work for you.
But there is one thing in common – a desire to write. A desire to create. When November comes, it will be time to have those desires come true.
Are you ready?